With the financial support and assistance of Glen and Nancy Warner, famed musician and composer Ken Medema donated his entire collection of musical works and related materials to Mercer University's Jack Tarver Library in 2016. The Warners encouraged Medema to find a home for his materials where scholars, researchers, and fans could learn more about his life and work. Blind from birth, Medema has been performing for more than 45 years. He began his career as a music therapist, during which time he began writing and performing his own songs about his life as a Christian. In 1973, he left music therapy and became a performing and recording artist full-time, traveling the world to perform his music. Many of his most popular songs began as live improvisations. Dr. David Keith, dean of Mercer’s Townsend School of Music, is close friends with Medema and worked to help bring the collection to Mercer. “We are thrilled to have the Ken Medema archives at Mercer University,” said Keith. “Ken has been a great friend and has touched many lives through his music in churches, conventions, and meetings across the world. He has been an integral part of the Townsend School of Music at Mercer in his work with our graduate students through Prelude, a yearly conference that helps our students understand their core value system and how to approach their academic pursuits and life after Mercer using these values. Having his archives at Mercer will allow generations of students and lovers of his music the opportunity to study and explore the life’s work of one of the most gifted musicians of the 20th and 21st century.” Medema said he chose Mercer to house his collection after exploring many universities. It became clear that Mercer was the right destination for his works. “I just felt like the school of music here at Mercer, more than any other place I have been, is not only a wonderful music school, but it’s a ‘love fest.’” The donated materials are part of the department of Archives and Digital Initiatives within Tarver Library. About Ken Medema Legally blind Christian musician Ken Medema's passion for music began at the tender age of 5 while playing on his mother's piano. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1942, he grew up during a time when blindness was not widely accepted. Children shunned the young Medema for being different, and he spent much of his childhood alone seeking solace in music. Medema started professional musical instruction when he was eight. Through the careful instruction of his teacher, young Medema was able to use Braille music sheets and his memory to learn the classics. He was encouraged to be innovative with his music style and his musical talent flourished. In 1969, Medema received a master's degree in Music Therapy from Michigan State University. Medema began recording albums for Word and Shawnee Press in 1973, and in 1985 founded an independent recording company in Grandville, Michigan. He called his new company Bier Patch Music. By 2002, Medema had produced several albums, and presented thousands of piano and voice performances all over North America, Australia, Africa and Europe. (text adapted from a press release by Sarah Webster)

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